Longshoremen: "Grave Concerns" About Traffic, Other Impacts from Arena
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 19, the Port union that has sued the city and county over the proposal to build a half-billion-dollar arena in SoDo, outlined its specific grievances in a letter to the city's Department of Planning and Development last week.
Specifically, the ILWU argues that the city and county are obligated to seriously consider locations other than the land San Francisco hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen has purchased in SoDo, including a site outside Seattle that the environmental review "must examine all impacts the Arena will have on transportation, traffic congestion, freight mobility, cumulative air quality, land use, and growth management"; and that the environmental review must consider the impact on the economy of rural Washington State if shippers "abandon the Port of Seattle due to increased traffic congestion."
(We've heard the line about traffic congestion before, of course; for what it's worth, those arguments didn't impress the King County Council or the city council.)
"That the Arena’s promoter, Chris Hansen, is not 'interested' in an Arena site outside of Seattle and the MOU does not specify a site outside of Seattle cannot limit the City and County’s duty under SEPA to identify and consider such a site in this SEPA process," the letter says.
The group also argues that the proposed arena is a public, not a private, project, making it subject to state environmental rules; Hansen has argued that the project is a "public/private partnership," with the majority of the investment coming from the private sector.
Additionally, the letter asks several questions about the arena's impact on traffic, which, the ILWU says, could include "Inadequate additional parking for sold-out Arena events ... Lack of pedestrian improvements including track crossing safety upgrades, sidewalk upgrades, and pedestrian illumination upgrades [and] Incomplete mitigation from prior stadium projects."